Need to hire microprocessor programmer and EE.

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Kenom, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Kenom

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
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    Hi. I'm new to the forum. I'm currently a freshman at Montana State university (38 yr old students rock) and an avid laser enthusiast. I've a very basic understanding of electronics and need to have a microcontroller unit built for a product I sell. I'll lay down the basics of what I'm looking for. You'll forgive me I'm long winded.

    I build laser power meters. Up to this point the thermopile has utilized an opamp to increase the signal to a readable 1mv/mw scale that I've been able to attach to a panel meter and display the output of the laser onto the meter.

    While this method works wonders, it does not give you the ability to graph the output of a laser unless I hook it to a DMM with usb connectivity. This doesn't provide the ease I'd like to incorporate in my new design.
    So, we go with a Microcontroller and display the output with that. Since a panel meter is essentially a microcontroller, I figure this shouldn't be that hard. What would be hard (or so I think) would be making the unit display 5 datapoints onto a graphical onscreen display as well as average power as well as a peak reading. Here's an example of the readout. I've been fiddling with the idea of utilizing OLED display.
    [​IMG]

    Plus, I'd like it to have usb connectivity so that it can save the data to a PC as well as save the information onto a SD card so that it can be directly imported into a PC from that method as well.

    Essentially this is just a graphing voltmeter with a few tweaks. I'm willing to pay for the design and programming. From what I hear tell it should be relatively easy. However, having no experience in this stuff yet myself, this is beyond me.


    a few other particulars I've come to find out about this project and other things you might need to know.

    1. the thermopile is powered from the controller +/- 5-18Vdc

    will be powered off a PSU (whatever voltage is needed)

    Microcontroller has to be pretty good to see resolution in 1mv
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  2. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
    10,152
    1,793
    I do this kind of thing all the time. You seem to have spent a bit more effort defining your requirements than most posters to this forum. I can actually do everything you need from writing a specification to designing the PC Board to procuring the layout from an associate of mine to doing the firmware. Heck we'll even send you assembled and tested modules for a fixed cost and a minimum order if you like.

    The more difficult thing will be working out the financial arrangemnt. PM (Private Message) me with an initial proposal or any other questions you might have.
     
  3. Kenom

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
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    Excellent.. PM sent. Awaiting reply.
     
  4. Kenom

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
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    Initial quote was waaay to expensive. Anyone else capable of helping? $10,000-$100,000 is more than I can spend. Heck I was looking around $150 each unit.
     
  5. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
    10,152
    1,793
    That is not an unreasonable cost per unit after the development costs have been taken care of. In order for you to reach that point, you need to estiamte how many units you think you can use/sell for those NRE (Non-Recurring Engineering) costs to be amortized over. You might be able to find an Angel Engineer who is willing to do the work gratis for the challenge or excitement, but I'm guessing that you have not been overwhelmed with takers. Your alternative is to invest the money in your own education and do all the tasks yourself. If your time is worth nothing to you and calender time to market is not a consideration then this may be your best alternative.

    In the mean time you can ask for and pay for specific tasks as the need arises.

    Good Luck
     
  6. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
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    Only you and Papabravo know what each of you discussed in your PM's but development cost vs per piece production costs have little to do with each other. Your asking him to do circuit design & development, PC board development, peripheral hardware development, firmware development (in the PIC) and software development on the PC end. What you sell your product for means little to the developer, especially when he has to wear all the hats.
     
  7. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
    10,152
    1,793
    It doesn't really matter since there is no real money to accomplish any of the required tasks. I was suckered in by the apparently superior nature of the initial requirements definition. Generally an inability to define requirements is a dead givaway that a project is going nowhere. How often does it occur that people can't define what done means.
     
  8. Kenom

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
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    Oh the project is going somewhere, it's just being accomplished one at a time. We've already selected an arduino, and the LCD to do so. I apologize for the misleading post.
     
  9. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    2,675
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    Why would you use an Arduino for your product? Are you willing to pay royalties for their code you are using to make a commercial product?? Any PIC with an ADC can do what you need..... Using someone elses "bootloader" is not really "making your own product".....

    My .02
     
  10. Kenom

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
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    primarily because it's a heck of a lot more expensive for the 60 or so units I'll be producing. My primary purchasers are not industry leaders looking to see how reliable their laser equipment is with budgets in the $1,000's, but instead are 17 Year old laser hobbyists wanting to know how powerful the homemade laser pointer is. Their budgets are even more limited than mine. If I expend $100,000 for the code and having my own custom boards made I'll never recoup my expenses. The sensors are surplus sensors I paid $150 for and I retail the finished meter for $350-$400. That's like $50-$100 profit for myself and a far cry from being able to support the development costs discussed.

    There is no doubt I recognize the superior nature of the PIC and ADC route.
     
  11. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
    145
    Usually when I ask what our commission will be for facilitating the deal everyone goes quiet.

    In all seriousness, AAC is not a procurement and recruitment site. If people choose to "do a deal" away from the site that is their perogative, but I don't want to set a precedent by letting discussions on this nature go unchecked.

    My suggestion is if you want help with a project you start a new thread and discuss the technical aspects of what you are trying to achieve. Whatever you choose to do away from this site is nothing to do with AAC.

    Dave
     
  12. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    2,675
    234

    But if you are hoping to make your own niche in the market, not a lot of hobbyists will have $350 -$400 to spend on a laser power meter... more like $10 to $50 if you are lucky..... so maybe you should be looking into getting some other type of sensor, possibly a solar cell or the likes, and build your design around a low cost pic with an ADC.... I work with Laser Barcode readers all the time and had taken a lot of them apart (for parts) and almost all of them that I have opened use a small photocell (solar cell) to detect and read the laser reflections.... so designing your product around something similar should not be that hard..... what type of sensor are you using now (what model, part #)? What ranges of power is your device going to be able to handle?? I know there are some Laser Power meters available in the market today that can only handle so much power without using some kind of filter to be able to handle more powerful lasers... I am really intriged in this project, just for the simple fact that people think it should cost you an arm and a leg to produce it..... when in reality, it should cost pennies to the dollar to produce and you can manage to get more than 100% return on your investment.
     
  13. Kenom

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    6
    0
    Here is my primary competitor in the laser power meter arena.

    http://www.bauer-electron.com/eby/eby1wlpm.htm

    His unit utilizes a TEC, he does sell a photocell version as well. Claims they cost him $58 each in bulk for the TECs.

    http://www.bauer-electron.com/eby/ebayhlpm.htm

    Considering that a good high quality green laser costs in the range of $150-$2000, it's not that far of a stretch to think that a hobbyiest can spend $400 for a quality meter.

    Here is my Sensor. Capable of reading up to 5W stock, 10W with a heatsink.
    [​IMG]

    Utilizing just a Panel meter and an Opamp board, I developed these for hobbyists and I sell a TON of these. Mine retail for $250 with the panel meter.
    [​IMG]
     
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